Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States. Imagine trying to be an NFL player dealing with anxiety issues before trying to block 300-pound linemen in front of 70,000 people.
Philadelphia Eagles guard Brandon Brooks missed two of the Eagles’ last three games when he came down with a last-minute illness. The Eagles were looking for answers. It turns out, Brooks was dealing with anxiety.
He told Philadelphia media on Wednesday that anxiety has led to his pregame issues, and he’s already on medication to help.
“I’m not ashamed. I’m not embarrassed. It’s life,” Brooks said, according to Reuben Frank of CSN Philly. “I’ll get through this.”
The amazing thing might be that Brooks was able to play almost five NFL seasons with what appears to be severe anxiety, and become one of the NFL’s best guards. He spent his first four seasons with the Houston Texans, then signed a five-year, $40 million deal with the Eagles this past offseason.
Getting sick before games wasn’t new for Brooks this season. In 2014 he experienced a stomach ulcer and missed a game. In 2015 he reportedly “experienced extreme nausea and sweating” shortly before a game according to PhillyMag.com.
Last week, Brooks appeared fine in meetings Saturday. Then hours before kickoff Sunday he became ill, PhillyMag.com said. The Eagles declared him inactive for the game. While many people deal with anxiety, not many have to do so in such a public way.
The Eagles immediately expressed personal concern and interest in helping Brooks. But there’s a football side to this as well, and it’s tough on a coaching staff to reshuffle an offensive line a couple hours before kickoff.
Hopefully for Brooks and the Eagles, medication can help him get through a very serious issue.
“If I get the help & treatment I need, I don’t think it’ll impact my football career at all,” Brooks told Frank. “I’ll be fine. Come out better for this.”
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